Compendium of the Impending Crisis in the South - Inventory Number: HIS 082
By Hinton Rowan Helpre of North Carolina
Published by New York: A.P. Burdick (1860)
Soft cover. Condition: Good 1st edition. Original printed wrapper. This was a sort of the “Man in the Street’s” edition of a far more complex work.
The Compendium version appeared in July 1859; it was an abridgement that kept the statistics but watered down some of the confrontational rhetoric, for use in Republican Party campaigning. This version met with fierce opposition in the South and many places banned it. Possession of a copy was treated as criminal offense. Distributors of the book were arrested, and three men in Arkansas were hanged for possession of it.
It widened the gulf between North and South, especially through the protracted December 1859 – January 1860 political struggle about electing John Sherman to the speakership of the House. Historians agree it helped sharpen sectional political differences in the period immediately preceding the American Civil War.
Hinton Rowan Helper (December 27, 1829 – March 9, 1909) was an American Southern critic of slavery during the 1850s. In 1857, he published a book which he dedicated to the "nonslaveholding whites" of the South. The Impending Crisis of the South, written partly in North Carolina but published when the author was in the North, argued that slavery hurt the economic prospects of non-slaveholders, and was an impediment to the growth of the entire region of the South. Anger over his book due to the belief he was acting as an agent of the North attempting to split Southerners along class lines led to Southern denunciations of 'Helperism'.
Inventory Number: HIS 082